Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I See You

You may not see me but I see you.  I’m out here rushing around every weekday from 12:30-1:30 trying to get a day’s worth of errands done on my lunch break. 

You may not think I notice you juggling your kids and your coffee as you hurry out of the cold into Target.  You may think I am judging you as you bribe your toddler with pretzels as you try to grab the last of your groceries in peace fully knowing it is well past lunch time.  You may envy my leisurely browsing of the latest markdowns at Marshall's while you are just trying to make it through the store without a time out.  Even if you don’t see me I see you.

I see all the afternoons I had with my kids, running to Target just to get out of the house.  I see all the afternoons I will never get that chance again.  I see my four years as a stay at home mom gone, and you still enjoying yours. 

If you do see me I hope you don’t think I am rude for looking away so quickly, it’s not that I don’t want to make funny faces at your adorable baby it’s that I am desperately longing to make them at mine.  When I see you it reminds me of everything I had, and now it’s gone.  Life didn’t go as planned and here I am fighting back tears typing this at my mind-numbingly boring job.  This is where I sit for 8 hours a day while my husband is home caring for the children.  He gets their best hours of the day and I see them for 3 of their most miserable. 

Damn right I am jealous.  I am jealous of my husband, of the countless women I see, I am jealous of me in the past if that makes any sense.  I know staying at home is not all Target trips and Starbucks, I remember the boredom, the isolation, the frustration but I would take all of that in a heartbeat if I could be the one to put Addie down for a nap or watch TC turn a snowman into an with her magical green crayon. 

I see you, I see your frustration, I see your desperation, I see your playfulness, I see your pride, I sometimes see your jealously.  I see you, I will try not to stare for more than a moment – I have to get back to the office.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hard Days

While things are going pretty well here the TBI and all that comes with it is still a major issue in our family.  Most days we can pretend it doesn’t really exist, I’d like to think it’s because he’s so much better but the real reason is that we’re so much better.  For the most part we can recognize issues coming and do our best to work around them and when we can’t work around them we’ve done a better job dealing with them – for the most part. 

Some days we are both blindsided, or I am blindsided and he’s in such a state of denial/delusion that the thinks he’s fine.   Yesterday was a very hard day.  He woke up feeling “dead inside” unable to really handle human emotions.  When this happens he’s just really hard to be around, he snaps and yells and is beyond irrational.  I have to watch every little thing I say.  Yesterday I didn’t watch my words close enough.  He was telling me that a text that was sent at 10:00 didn’t reach him until 12:30, the text was Mrs. Pastor requesting his presence at church at 11:00.  He had already decided he wasn’t going to church and all I said was “well if you were going you would have to be out the door by 10 anyway.”  I was just blurting out the first thing that came to mind and pointing out that he should really feel bad because the text came too late for him to even act on it if he had wanted to go.  This turned into him screaming at me that they weren’t asking me to go and I need to get over myself.  The time wasn’t the point he was pissed that he didn’t get the text.  Not everything is about my and I need to chill.  I blocked out the nastier stuff, and then he stormed off. 

I know that it’s not him.  I know it’s not him.  I also know it’s not me.  But it is him and me.  He may be dead inside on a particular day but I’m not.  I still feel, I still care, I still hurt.  I feel and care and hurt a lot.  Too much. 

He later came over to me and told me that he wanted to apologize but in his current he doesn’t think he is wrong.  He said that tomorrow he would know he’s wrong, like he has in the past, but given how his brain was working that day he didn’t think he was wrong.  Then he got upset that I was crying, upset with himself for doing that to me.  I hate to let him see me cry because it sends him further down the rabbit hole, telling me not to let him get to me and that I can leave and take everything because I shouldn’t be married to someone who make me cry. 

I cry about our life every few months.  I’ve done a good job finding other ways to vent my anxiety and frustration.  But I do cry.  It’s hurts to hear the person you love say hateful things to you.  To accuse you of hateful things.  To have to tell your kids that you were thinking of something sad and that is why you are crying.   

Loving someone with brain damage is a tricky thing.  Even when you know that his brain doesn’t work like it used to the realities can still catch you off guard and crush you to the core.  Today I am still trying to recover, my heart is pretty broken and I can’t shake the feeling that I am not good enough.  I’ll be fine, I’ll take it out on the treadmill. 

Friday, January 9, 2015


“No, I mean GRANDMA, the one I used to talk to on the phone when we lived in Arizona.”

Heartbreaking to say the least.  I know who she means when she says “Grandma” and not “Grandma Diane” but I try to push her away from the idea of that Grandma. 

It has been 14 months since my mother and I stopped speaking.  In that time she has made one slight attempt to communicate with me – she asked my sisters to post a TBI related article to me on Facebook.  They did and I scolded them both, that woman is not in my life and I don’t need anything from her.  They know not to talk to her about me or my family.  The fact that she thinks she has anything to contribute to us after all of this radio silence infuriates me.

It wasn’t just the falling out after the 2013 Thanksgiving.  That was the final nail in the coffin that contained any normal mother daughter relationship we could have had.  Growing up with an alcoholic mother teaches you many things very early in life.  I learned that I could never count on her.  I learned that no matter what I do I will never win her approval.  I learned that I am worth so much more than she could ever see. 

It still pains me that since that horrible day she hasn’t once tried to mend our relationship.  Not even a card for the girls on their birthdays.  It’s as if we never existed.  I don’t know if I would even consider an apology from her – I think we are well beyond that but knowing that she doesn’t care to try makes me feel like that 5 year old looking out the window for hours willing her car to show up the one day a week we would see her. 

I hate that she still knows about my life.  It’s not fair but since she lives close to my sister and her family (they all live in Kentucky) she can get information from them and view pictures on their facebook pages.  She hasn’t earned any of this.  I know she thinks I am some horrible person but my kids have never done anything to her, it wouldn’t kill her to send them a card at Christmas.  But when TC asks about that grandma I simply remind her that she lives very far away.  For now it’s working but I know that someday I am going to have to sit her down and explain everything to them.  I really hope they see that I am protecting them from the harm of having a force like my mother in their lives and don’t resent me for not encouraging a relationship. 

My mom did teach me the most important lesson of my life: she taught me exactly what kind of mom I wanted to be.  So far it’s working, whatever she did – I am doing the exact opposite. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Soul is Not Up For Grabs

When we moved home we stayed with friends Will knew from Bible College.  Yea, Bible College – a lifetime ago he was on a path that lead to preaching.  That didn’t happen for various reasons and here we are.  When we met he wasn’t overly religious, in fact I was shocked to find out where he went to school.  I am not anti-religion but I am not someone who enjoys being around people who preach all day every day.  I grew up going to church every Sunday and spent my summers at a campground owned but the Episcopal Church, I made my confirmation in 8th grade and generally lived my life trying to remember to pray for the people who asked for prayers and doing my best to stay out of hell. 

I really liked the Episcopal Church, we welcomed everyone (it’s even our motto!) and while we did the whole standup-sit down-kneel-sit down-dosey do routine that the Catholic Church is laughed at for I didn’t mind the services.   It was the same every week, a loud organ, hymns by the choir, follow along to the prayer book, sermon, Eucharist (bread and wine), toss in the Lord’s Prayer & Nicene Creed  and peace out.  My church was made of stone and well over 100 years old.  The church room itself was all wood and stain glass.  Behind the ornate alter was a huge cross, the alter itself was dressed in fine linens and lined with candles.  If you don’t know too much about the Episcopal Church the best way to describe it is as my dad did “diet Catholic”.  When you walked it the smell of the wood and the burning candles would surround you, it was a smell I've only smelled in my church.  If I smelled it today it would bring me right back to my childhood.

Img found here

It has never been my desire to change religions, but I don’t really have a desire for religion at the moment.  I love God, god loves me – we’re good.  I have always been supportive of Will going to church, I even tried to go with him when we moved home but I just can’t buy into his church.  I am not trying to talk down about it but worship music is just cheesy to me and calling out in the middle of a sermon seems rude but that’s just me.   Joining a church was never even a topic of conversation; we just felt fine in our spiritual relationships and never perused it.  Since moving home he’s gone to church a few times without me, he brought the kids a few times, brought just one a few weeks ago…it’s something he enjoys.  He doesn’t like that the church he goes to is 40 minutes away, I guess that’s the main reason he doesn’t go more. 

Why am I telling you all of this?  I needed to set up why what happened on Sunday is really bothering me.  I went with him to church, he wanted me to meet someone so I went.  I have to be really honest, not only do I not buy into it I feel really awkward being there as an outsider.  The wife of Will’s pastor friend, who I really enjoy, came over and decided we were going to skip the service and go get breakfast.  It was at breakfast that she confessed that as part of their mission she and her husband  were praying for me to join their church.  I looked right at her and told her “good luck, I am Episcopalian and if I was looking to join a church or even attend one semi regularly I wouldn’t be changing religions.”  She told me that was alright but they would keep praying.

Seriously, really?  What she really did was ensure that I will never go back to that church unless absolutely necessary (read: wedding/funeral).  Will can go all he wants, please go, take the kids I would kill for some alone time in the house!  But what I really got from my conversation with Mrs. Pastor is that my religion is the wrong religion and I am not even practicing so my soul is up for grabs.  It makes me feel very icky and kind of angry.  Will said I am over reacting but he wasn’t there. She doesn’t just want me in the church to fill seats but as a born again baptized finally seeing the errors of my ways member.

It’s a little weird Mrs. Pastor, if you want to keep praying can you also toss in a few prayers about winning the lottery?  That would be more useful because you can mark my words – me joining your church is NEVER going to happen.  EVER.